In 1959, Robert Lowell wrote a marvelous set of poems in a book called “Life Studies”.
One of his well known poem in this book is “Man and Wife”. Man and Wife deals with
a theme of personal tragedy typical of the Life Studies series. “The content of the poem
reflects a troubled marriage which can be seen when the author compares living with his
wife before and after he got married. In my view, the poet contrasted this poem skillfully
and reflected that he was very well read in classical poetry.
The author begins the poem by stating “ Tamed by Miltown , / we lie on Mother bed”.
This opening statement shows that he has been tranquilized (Miltown) with a drug and
he is lying on his mother bed along with his wife remembering his own mother and father
situation when they were married . He is so much into this drug that he is now used to it
and it doesn’t even effect him at all . The sun in second line is described as an Indian
warrior who "dyes red" the speaker and his wife upon its rising which shows that they are
getting ready to fight with each other as if they are in war . Usually sunrises express
happiness and start of new beginning but in this case it represents disagreement and thus
the end to couple’s relationship. In the third line of the poem the speaker describes the
bed-posts as shining, which is ironic because it is non living object which is receiving
the sun shine but the couple is not because there relationship is into dark sunset. .
However , the condition which causes the poet to feel totally abandoned in his
relationship is described by the term Dionysian ( Greek festival God) which shows that
he is so lost into his own world of unconsciousness that he doesn’t even know that his
relationship is ruining. The significance of magnolia as a symbol in the phrase “At last